What a wonderful time to be alive. Given the advent of social media and technology, there are far greater employment opportunities today than, say, when our parents joined the workforce. There’s a plethora of unconventional careers to choose from. Not just doctors and lawyers, the 21st century has been privy to the rise of YouTubers, ethical hackers, writers, stylists and video game designers – all legitimate careers that pay the bills. If you’re still unsure where your passion lies, we encourage you to go through our list of some unconventional jobs that didn’t even exist a decade ago; if any of them appeals to you, deep-dive into literature about it, start looking for ways to explore it on the field, and then evaluate whether it might be your next thing. The path to a fulfilling future begins here.
An influencer is someone who has expert knowledge and/or social influence in their respective fields, from fashion to music and journalism to comedy. Think of the people you follow on Instagram – Kusha Kapila, Shayan Roy, Mallika Dua, Zaeden…they’re all influencers because they’ve demonstrated a strong commitment to their passion, combined with a superior understanding of how to use social media to engage hundreds of thousands of people. Consequently, influencer marketing is a form of social media marketing involving brand endorsements from such influencers.
Expected income: It depends on how big and scattered the influencer’s audience is; the sky’s the limit really.
With millions of subscribers hooked to their content, broadcast specifically via YouTube, that may range from documentaries, music videos, web series, music covers, cooking, fashion, and more, these personalities influence pop culture in a significant way. One of the best examples is Lilly Singh aka iisuperwomanii, who has been in the business for around a decade. Now, she’s all set to host the next edition of the late-night show, A Little Late with Lilly Singh, becoming the first ever South Asian, queer woman to do so. Talk about smashing the glass ceiling.
Expected income: On an average, a YouTuber can receive around Rs 1,300 per 1,000 ad views.
Stand-up comedy has arrived in India in a BIG way – it’s a profitable, viable career option that more and more people are pursuing. Supported by tour managers, artist managers and agencies, stand-up comics are becoming celebrities in their own rights. Did you know that Kanan Gill, who was first noticed for Pretentious Movie Reviews, has just been signed on by a massive, US-based talent management agency in an almost-unprecedented move? This just goes to show that Indian stand-up comics are slowly, but surely, finding their place in the spotlight.
Expected income: The range is between Rs 5,000 – 10,000 per gig for those who are just starting out to veteran comics who earn over Rs 4 lakhs per 30-minute show.
Don’t want a 9-5 job sitting at a desk in a corporate office? Network marketing may be for you. This is a business model that depends on person-to-person sales by independent representatives, often working from home – stellar sales skills required!
Expected income: You can expect to start with a salary of around Rs 20, 000 but work your way up to Rs 1 lakh per month
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
Artificial Intelligence is the study of how to train computers so that they can accomplish things that the most evolved species of our time, human beings, cannot. An application of AI, Machine Learning provides system with the ability to automatically learn and improve from experience. It’s all very Black Mirror, and it’s happening right now.
Expected income: The median salary of AI professionals in India is Rs 14.3 lakh across all experience levels.
Another new-age marketing job, this involves directly engaging with your consumers, inviting and encouraging them to participate in the evolution of a brand or brand experience. The ability to think out-of-the-box, adapt to changing market scenarios and learn from your mistakes (and consumer feedback) are crucial to success as an experiential marketer.
Expected income: One can expect a salary that ranges anywhere between Rs 40,000 and 1,00,000
Mental Health Coach
Given India’s mental health epidemic, there’s never been a greater need for young, driven and compassionate individuals to join the workforce as mental health care professionals – from therapists to coaches. If you’re not familiar with it, mental health coaching helps clients envision life without depression or any other obstacles on the path to emotional well-being. It is a niche within the coaching field which touches on therapy, but it does not work with or attempt to treat mental illness.
Expected income: Mental health coaches take home a salary that ranges between Rs 10 lakhs to 15 lakhs.
Often organisations employ ethical hackers who specialise in penetration testing and other testing methodologies that ensures the security of their information systems. After all, prevention is better than cure.
Expected income: The average salary of a certified ethical hacker is around Rs 3.5 lakhs and can increase with experience.
Graphic designing is the craft of creating striking, stimulating visual content to communicate messages. Applying visual hierarchy and page layout techniques, graphic designers use typography and pictures to meet their client’s specific needs and focus on the logic of displaying elements in interactive designs to optimise the user experience. Today, graphic designers are creating album art, websites and even branded clothing for brands that seek maximum visual impact.
Expected income:The average pay for a graphic designer is around Rs 2 lakh per year, but this can vary drastically from person to person.
Creative writers, with a flair for words and an obsession with good grammar, use their imagination, creativity, and observation skills to tell a story or weave a compelling narrative.
Expected income: Although the median salary for content writers in India is around Rs 2.5 lakhs per annum, actual pay varies according to different factors such as job location, company, experience, and niche.
App developers use programming to create softwares according to their client’s brief, that could be to built a networking app, a learning app, a music app and so on.
Expected income: An entry-level android developer earns approximately Rs 3 lakh per year, whereas an app developer with significant experience could take home an average salary of Rs 5 lakh per month.
Fashion Stylist & Personal Shopper
Fashion stylists are the people working tirelessly behind-the-scenes to make cover stars, Bollywood celebrities and TV personalities look good. Personal shoppers of the rich and famous, on the other hand, assess a client’s style so they can personally curate each item in their wardrobe.
Expected income: A fashion stylist earns an average salary of Rs 4,40,000 per annum.
Video Game Designer
Don’t just play video games, make them! Video game designers characters and the flow of the game, to make them as appealing to customers as possible. The job requires boundless creativity as well as sophisticated knowledge of software coding.
Expected income: In India, joining salaries are around Rs 4 lakhs per annum for programmers and designers and Rs 3 lakhs for graphic artists and game developers.
A pro gamer is a full-time competitive player who is paid to play video games – yep, you heard that right! You can finally tell your mom that Halo is serious business. Most pro gamers are normally paid by their teams or sponsors to play and compete in gaming tournaments around the world.
Expected income: Still in a nascent stage in India, professional gaming can fetch you around Rs 50,000-1,00,000 if you are backed by good sponsors. Apart from the prize money, that is.
Food stylists are responsible making, well, food look really, really appetising on camera, typically for posters, ad shoots, videos and even Instagram. Most food stylists work on a freelance basis, making it another great job for those who can’t stomach the thought of conventional desk jobs.
Expected income: Typically food stylists can earn between Rs 30,000 to Rs 35,000 per month, but this varies based on the stylist’s experience level and nature of project(s).
A trickle-down trend that’s slowly making its way to India after firmly establishing itself as a technically-advanced job overseas, VFX is now being used in more and more Bollywood and Tollywood films. Think Ra.One, Baahubali or even something like Shandaar. And the people behind all the magic? VFX artists that create these animations and special effects for movies, television shows, or video games.
Expected income: The salary of VFX artists starts at around Rs 3 lakhs per annum and can go up to Rs 10 lakhs per annum.